My nephew, Ali; my friend, Amina; and I, decided to go to the new Gelato Affair in DHA. We thought, rightfully so, that we could expect the same quality and service as the Gelato Affair in Gulberg. However, the service there was so pathetic that we only left a 5 rupee tip to show our discontent.
When we walked in, we instantly remarked how much nicer the Gulberg one was. Had I been a believer in “signs”, I would have left. Alas! I am too pragmatic.
We walked upstairs and took a seat. A waiter came and gave us menus and Amina asked for an ashtray. 5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed… we had already decided what we wanted and Amina was anxiously awaiting her ashtray, desperate for a smoke. Finally, I saw a lone waiter standing bewildered by the stairs. I called to him and asked him to take our order. “I can’t do that,” he said, which prompted me to instantly react with a confused, “Why?”
“I’m new you see,” he explained. “I’ll call someone for you.”
“Well at least tell us if this is a smoking section, and get me an ashtray.” Amina said.
“Ummm… I don’t know,” he replied in his confused manner and walked off.
“Well that was weird!” Amina said to us. Ali and I both nodded our heads in agreement. We were beginning to feel a little bewildered ourselves.
15 minutes had passed and I was beginning to get a little irritated and Ali, who’s always chilled out, also grunted a few words of discontent.
“What the hell is going on here?” Amina exclaimed. “I see waiters going upstairs and downstairs, yet they don’t come take our order.”
Finally, I beckoned the first waiter I saw. He came over and took our rather belated order. We also asked him to get us a large bottle of water and the bloody ashtray we felt we were now begging for.
“What do you want an ashtray for?” the waiter asked me. “Do you want to spit out chewing gum or do you want to smoke?” He was looking at me like I was a little child asking for steak knives to stab her little brother with.
“We want to smoke of course,” I replied, truly perplexed by the behaviour of the waiters.
“No, sorry. This is a no smoking section,” he said as he walked off to the next table, leaving us bemused at the chewing gum remark. Why on earth would I ask for an ashtray to discard gum? Yes, if an ashtray was present in front of me, and I had a piece of gum I wanted to spit out, I might have utilised it. I don’t think people ask for ashtrays to get rid of gum!
We waited another 15 minutes, pondering how long it could possibly take to scoop ice cream, pour juice in a glass and pick up a bottle of water. Apparently it takes around 20 minutes for Gelato Affair to make one sundae, one quarter piece of waffle with chocolate gelato, and one pina colada. Apparently all this is much too difficult; so much so that a bottle of water cannot be added to the process. Nevertheless, we were so grateful that our order had arrived that we didn’t even notice that the bottle of water was missing until after we had eaten. I probably wouldn’t have realised at all because I was drinking the pina colada, which by the way, has way too much pineapple juice, but is white… it is deceptive!
After devouring their chocolaty deserts, Amina and Ali were quite thirsty. As expected, it took us a while to find the waiter. When he finally arrived, he ignored us and went straight to an empty table to pick up the plates etc. I was annoyed, yet amused. I asked him to get us a bottle of water, and reminded him that he had forgotten. He giggled. Amina also asked him to get another scoop of ice-cream and looking at the way he hurriedly ran off, we began to naively believe that he might, just might, get our order quickly…
I must say I was surprised when he arrived in only 10 minutes with the gelato and water. We then asked him for the cheque, and it arrived promptly. So did the change. Feeling rather aggravated with him, we left the 5 rupee coin as his tip and exited the ice cream parlour, grateful that it was all over.